The entrepreneurial field has been strengthened by the entry of strong, brave and intelligent women. In fact, women-owned businesses have been on the rise, stepping up 21 percent from 2014 to 2019 (while all businesses only increased by 9 percent!). According to American Express’s 2019 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report, women-owned 49 percent of all businesses; and this is significant when you recollect that only 4.6 percent of businesses were owned by women in 1972!
Given below are some prominent women entrepreneurs in America:
> Amy Errett, Founder, Madison Reed
After leaving her job as a venture capitalist, Amy Errett launched Madison Reed – to give women a beauty product she felt they deserved when it came to hair coloring. Errett’s vision was to offer a better option – DIY color kits with less-toxic ingredients, reasonably priced. It really meant offering a better choice, vis-à-vis traditional options like expensive salon visits or a chemical-laden home dye job. Madison Reed also began selling online, direct-to-consumer in 2013, and they went on to leverage technology like an AI-powered chatbot and an AR try on-the-color feature too. Read more.
> Sarah LaFleur, Co-Founder, MM.LaFleur
Before starting the online clothing brand MM.LaFleur in 2013, Sarah LaFleur worked in finance. She was inspired by how professional women worked on a budget for work clothes; and her startup LaFleur really understood firsthand the struggle of finding attractive, affordable workwear that sent the right message. So, the direct-to-consumer brand was her solution. MM.LaFleur manufactures its own products, maintaining a simple, elegant vibe that highlights the wearer rather than the garment. Read more.
> Aishwarya Iyer, Founder, Brightland
Aishwarya Iyer’s career panned through tech and venture capital fields before she dived into the food arena — olive oil. She launched her boutique brand in Los Angeles in 2018, aimed at providing quality, authentic, unadulterated olive oil as part of an ‘aware’ lifestyle. Conscious of how the olive oil Americans consume is imported (and the quality questionable), she decided to provide a better option. By sourcing olives from a single California estate farm and developing her own blends, she positioned her company where authenticity, wellness, and lifestyle meet. Read more.
> Tina Sharkey, Co-Founder, Brandless
Clearly, Tina Sharkey is into communities, not brands and she co-founded the e-commerce site Brandless with IdoLeffler in 2017. Involved in relationships, she feels the focus should be on living, not ‘branding’. Building a virtual community and relationships happens through their blogs and emails (and through product-related hacks shared by customers on Instagram). Real-life connections happen at Brandless meetups and brick-and-mortar pop-ups, where customers can experience Brandless snacks and get educated about the products they are buying online. Read More.
> Ali O’Grady, Founder, Thoughtful Human
When Ali O’Grady started her line of Thoughtful Human greeting cards in 2017, she had a ‘humane’ objective – she wanted everyone to feel that when life gets tough, you’re not alone. Her own personal tragedy led to the launch of her edgy line, which directly puts the spotlight on life’s messy issues, offering empathy in the face of adversity. So, Thoughtful Human approaches the greeting card market in fresh way. She writes the messages herself, addressing larger, darker subjects like cancer, mental illness and addiction; and the product is a pack of assorted cards to be sent to the same person over time, acknowledging the fact that big issues require longer conversations. Read more.
> Katia Beauchamp, Co-Founder, Birchbox
It was while studying at Harvard Business School that the idea for Birchbox came to Katia Beauchamp. She launched this subscription beauty sample company in 2010 and her vision was to help time-starved women make sense of the mind-boggling world of personal care products. Birchbox has positioned itself as a ‘beauty matchmaker’ by giving a new twist on the industry standard use of free samples. Read more.